Allergic diseases are among the fastest growing chronic conditions in developed countries, and Australia is no exception. In recent decades, food allergy and anaphylaxis have emerged as a major public and personal health burden, contributing to increased demand for specialty services, significant economic cost, and reduced quality of life for food allergic children and their families.
Research was published online this month within the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, by Dr Raymond Mullins and Dr Mimi Tang, examining hospital anaphylaxis admission rates in Australia between 1998 and 2012. Between 2005 and 2012, there was a 50 percent increase in total hospital admissions from anaphylaxis and 50 percent increase in food allergy related anaphylaxis admissions, compared to the previous seven years. It is important to note these changes were irrespective of changing total hospital admission rates.
The highest rates of hospital admissions related to anaphylaxis continue to be seen in children under five years of age. Interestingly though, admissions of older children aged 5-14 years were noted to more than double; a rate of increase much greater than other age groups.
This research not only confirms that the incidence of allergic disease in Australia is rising at a rapid pace, but also suggests anaphylaxis and food allergies are becoming more severe and chronic in nature.
Mullins, R., Dear, K. and Tang, M. 2015. Time trends in Australian hospital anaphylaxis admissions in 1998-1999 to 2011-2012. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Published online: July 13, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2015.05.009
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